Forward Carers launches its mission during Carers Week to make Birmingham a ‘Carer Friendly City’
Forward Carers delivers Birmingham Carers Hub, a council and NHS commissioned service providing comprehensive support to over 15,000 unpaid carers in the city who look after a family member or friend who is elderly, frail, has an illness, disability or addiction. This year’s national Carers Week (8-14 June) theme is ‘Making Caring Visible’, so Forward Carers is on a mission to make Birmingham the first ‘Carer Friendly City’ as part of its commitment to creating Carer Friendly Communities.
There are around 8 million carers in the UK and are thought to save the economy over £132 billion each year, an average of £19,336 per carer. Unpaid carers provide on average 65 hours of care a week, the contribution they make to society is often not recognised and numerous obstacles increase the complexity of this role. Forward Carers wants to remove barriers and create ‘Carer Friendly Brum’ so that organisations, businesses, health services and individuals will recognise carers and take practical steps to make a positive difference to their lives.
Simon Fenton, CEO of Forward Carers said:
“We estimate there are over 600,000 people across the West Midlands who are in a caring role, often people do not even realise that the support that they give to a family member or friend means that they are a carer. Every year around 40,000 people in Birmingham become a carer, a figure I think will have increased because of the effects of coronavirus. Without carers, the NHS would collapse, we have a duty to support carers and as a proud Brummie, I want Birmingham to become the first Carer Friendly City.”
Forward Carers has already launched a Carers Card as part of its mission to create ‘Carer Friendly Brum’ and to raise the profile of carers so that they are recognised and valued in the community. To date, over 750 cards have been issued free to carers who are registered with Birmingham Carers Hub. The Carers Card has already made carers lives easier, especially during the pandemic. Carers have used their photo ID card to show police to verify journeys, to their employer to request flexible working arrangements and used it to gain priority access to supermarkets and DIY stores. By obtaining a card, carers can also benefit from accessing discounts and special offers to ease the financial burden of caring.
Forward Carers working in partnership with other community groups and charities such as Midland Mencap, aims to increase the city’s awareness of unpaid carers, inspire employers so that they recognise staff who are in a caring role and influence local services and businesses to make reasonable adjustments and offer financial savings to carers.
Signing up to the ‘Carer Friendly Brum’ scheme is free of charge and in return participants will receive free advertising and PR materials to demonstrate their commitment to carers. For relatively minimum effort, local business and services will increase their levels of corporate social responsibility, improve employee retention and target new customers by making a difference to carers and will contribute to making Birmingham the first carer friendly city.
In the summer, Forward Carers will launch the ‘Carer Friendly Brum’ Awards where carers can nominate a business or employer who has made a positive impact on their lives. To find out more about Carer Friendly Brum scheme visit: https://forwardcarers.org.uk/carer-friendly-communities/about/
Carers can find out about the Carers Card and make an application by visiting:https://forwardcarers.org.uk/discounts-and-benefits/carers-card/
For information, advice and support, carers can call the Birmingham Carers Hub on 0333 006 9711 or to register as a carer visit https://forwardcarers.org.uk/local-services/carer-register-form/
To find out what Forward Carers has planned for Carers Week, visit: https://forwardcarers.org.uk/our-plans-for-carers-week/